Be honest: Could you say “No” to “the war to end wars”?
Turns out that president Woodrow Wilson didn’t coin that phrase, and reportedly only used it in public once.
But it doesn’t matter. The phrase, along with one that Wilson did use, “to make the world safe for democracy,” became key pieces of a pioneering and apparently very successful government propaganda campaign to mobilize U.S. public opinion for joining the war. This despite the fact that Wilson won re-election in 1916 on the slogan, “He kept us out of war.”
In Spring a (not so) young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of . . . cleaning up the legacy of torture taxi flights from North Carolina. On April 20, 2013, that meant heading out to Smithfield, where a CIA front company called Aero Contractors is barricaded at the Johnston county Airport behind high fences and heavy security.
There I gathered with a dozen or so other steadfast activists, and we went to work. Here are some photos, with explanatory captions.
As “Zero Dark Thirty” winds down, after Osama Bin Laden is dead, a big military transport is shown, parked on some windswept desert runway. As CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) climbs into its open maw, the pilot emerges to tell her she’s the only passenger listed for the flight.
“You must be pretty important,” he says. “Where do you wanna go?”
Maya slowly straps herself into a fold-down seat, alone as the plane’s huge cargo door closes out the world beyond its drab, cavernous fuselage. After a moment, a tear slowly trickles from each of her eyes, though she does not sob or lose her composure. “ZD30″ ends a moment later, with Maya staring shakily ahead, still not answering the pilot’s query.
A CIA front company, Aero Contractors, ran “torture taxi” flights out of the Johnston County airport in North Carolina for years. The flights crossed there Atlantic, picked up prisoners from Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, and took them to secret prisons, Guantanamo, and other torture sites overseas. (This is not a rumor; the New York Times among others “outed” the operation years ago.)
In December 2010, on a bright but cold afternoon, I took a serious blow to the ego, and what’s left of my cultural pride. It probably did me good, but I’m still rubbing the sore spot: it’s like a bruise that just won’t heal. It started out fine, when I got off a bus not far from Waterford, Ireland, just in time for an interview.
So. Former President Bush said “Damn right,” he’d approved the torture by waterboarding of Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, and other terror suspects. (Dick Cheney merely said he was “a big fan” of such tactics.)
In a post at the Quaker House blog I’ve reprinted an Op Ed piece of mine that was just published on our local paper about the recent Wiklieaks disclosure of several hundred thousand documents from the Iraq occupation, and the resulting uproar in media around the world (but not so much in the US, where we think we have other things to worry about than torture.)
So I’m walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot the other day –
(Yeah, I shop there. Whadda ya think — I live in one of your university-hugging, professional middle class greeny suburbs? This is army town, no time for that fluff. We had two Supercenters when I got here; now there’s five. Whole Foods & Costco are about ninety minutes away. I get there when I can; otherwise, cut me some slack here.)